Ramaphosa reports constructive engagement with steel sector to grow industry

20th April 2023 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

President Cyril Ramaphosa met with business leaders in the steel and engineering industries on April 18 to discuss measures that government, the industry and other social partners will take together to grow the sector and ensure its future sustainability.

The purpose of the meeting was to deepen engagement between government and this strategic sector of the economy. Ramaphosa welcomed the constructive engagement with the sector, the Presidency said in a statement.

“The steel sector is at the heart of our economy, as it has a significant multiplier effect and is one of largest job creators in the manufacturing sector. Our infrastructure drive should be the catalyst that propels its recovery and growth. We are determined to build a local steel sector that is strong, competitive and well-positioned for the future,” Ramaphosa said.

During the meeting, he outlined the actions being taken to achieve energy security, improve the performance of the freight logistics system and tackle corruption and crime, which had received strong support from business leaders.

Government and industry representatives discussed opportunities for local steel in the effort to rehabilitate the rail network, expand the national transmission grid and build water infrastructure, as well as the need to invest in skills development, he said.

Industry organisation Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) chairperson Elias Monage met with Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings, in Tshwane.

Seifsa expressed its support in working with government and other social partners to address the country’s challenges and unlock investment in the sector.

Ramaphosa had directed that the sector be given specific focus through the development of a steel and metal fabrication master plan in his 2019 State of the Nation Address.

In June 2021, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition had signed such a sector master plan, providing a blueprint for the industry to revitalise and expand production.

The master plan was a key part of the reimagined industrial strategy Ramaphosa had championed to unleash private investment and support inclusive growth, the Presidency said.